The Small-Eyed Children of Cañón del Cristo

mojave desert

(Horror stories about the desert.)

The deathbed story my grandfather told was not one I initially believed. He’d been in a car accident. There was head trauma. He was in and out of consciousness for a few days before an aneurysm took him out of this world.

During his moments of lucidity, he talked to me. It didn’t make a lot of sense. The doctor told me everything Grandpa said following the crash could be explained by brain damage, and I agreed. It seemed like he was conflating the old scary stories he used to tell me as a kid with real events from his past.

The real event went like this: in 1980, he was patrolling Cañón del Cristo, a spot in the Mojave that had, over the years, become a place where drug cartels went to dump bodies. Despite no bodies turning up in over twenty months, he still liked to give it a walkthrough every now and then.

“Nice scenery and good air,” he’d claim. “Aside from when I’d find a body.”

His trouble started when a rattlesnake startled him, causing him to jump back and lose his footing. It was a bad spot for that. He ended up falling about eight feet and shattering his knee.

That part I already knew. I had vague memories of him in a cast when I was very young.

He was on the canyon floor for hours. Whenever he tried to move, the pain was so intense he’d just stop and scream. There was nothing he could do. His radio was out of reach. There were no cell phones back then. It was only a matter of time before a mountain lion came by and put an end to it.

It turned out mountain lions were the least of his worries. Continue reading “The Small-Eyed Children of Cañón del Cristo”